a reply to: Atsbhct
The oldest house I ever worked on, was constructed in 1895. A lady friend of mine was the owner, and having come into an inheritance from her deceased
grandmother, she made the leap onto the property ladder with immediate effect.
She had actual builders in to deal with the serious issues that the structural survey had bought up, although being so old, and given that surveyors
never catch everything, there was always going to be more work on the cards than one would hope. Everything was a pain in the rear end, because not
only had the couple who had previously lived in the home been the only residents until their eventual removal to care homes, or death, but they had
just painted or papered over previous colours and styles, rather than stripping back to the bare walls.
The last major overhaul of this property had been in the seventies.
As a result of this, every door had to be carefully stripped of its lead paint, as did every skirting board, dado rail, picture rail, and doorframe.
When we came to remove paper from the walls, it became apparent that some sort of hybrid mixture containing the raw piss of Satan had been used to
apply the paper, requiring each room have man hours sunk into it to the same degree that an OCD play through of Fallout 3 or 4 might.
When dismantling fitted wardrobes, we discovered that the metal bars which were the hanging rails were sunk two and a quarter inches into the chimney
breast, and the wall alike, and when the paper was gone from the walls in that room, we discovered that the walls were a pockmarked, crater strewn
vista, filled with unidentifiable precursors to polyfila, of such insane consistency that only calling in a plasterer to reduce the volume of the room
by covering over these imperfections would solve the problems these protrusions presented.
Even when the bulk of the work was completed, there were problems. The nastiest of these involved a pipe buried so deep inside a wall, that when it
started to leak (the fellow who fixed it reckoned not long after the water was turned on for the first time since the purchase went through) it had
taken months to show on the inside skin of the building. This wall had to be near enough dug out, and work undertaken within the resulting concavity,
to put the pipe work right. Although a lot of work had to go into it, the finish was nice enough, and the lady owner had lodgers to help cover the
cost to a degree.
She bought a couple of other properties (heavily mortgaged) and did those up too, but I had stopped associating with her by that point, for reasons
not at all to do with the amount of graft one tended to put in on her account. Tis a shame, because she knew how to wear a set of overalls, and
indeed, how not to.